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Google exec is finalist for nation’s techie-in-chief job

Megan Smith, a longtime Google executive, is a finalist for the job as the nation’s top technologist, according to sources familiar with the matter.

U.S. chief technology officer, as the role is informally known, oversees the federal government’s use of technology to create jobs, reduce costs and spur economic growth. Some refer to it as the White House’s geek-in-residence.

Smith is currently vice president at Google X, a skunk works of futuristic projects including self-driving cars, Internet-connected eye glasses and high altitude balloons that provide wireless Internet access to people below who otherwise lack online access. She previously led business development for Google, including negotiating a number of high-profile acquisitions, and oversaw, the company’s philanthropic arm.

She would make for a high-profile choice following the recent resignation of Todd Park, who is leaving after two years to help the White House recruit more technology savvy workers from Silicon Valley. He was preceded by Aneesh Chopra, the nation’s first chief technology officer, a role created by President Barak Obama.

In addition to Smith, the White House is considering Alex Macgillvray, a former executive at Twitter and Google, according to sources familiar with the matter. A third finalist is also on the shortlist.

Before her tenure at Google, Smith served as chief executive of Planet Out, a site focused on gays and lesbians. She earned bachelor and Masters degrees at the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Google declined to comment about Smith’s candidacy. Bloomberg first reported that she was being considered for the job.